There are those who believe the state and the majority of its citizens are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to lawmaking during the 40-day session of the Georgia General Assembly.
They point to people like Senate Leader Don Balfour, R-Snellville, who, it appears, seldom sees a freebie offered by a lobbyist that he doesn’t like or accept.
According to a recent report, Balfour accepted free tickets to some 120 events valued at more than $22,000, and that’s just in the past six years.
He’s having a good time representing the people of his district.
He even attended a Bon Jovi concert in Washington, D.C., at the expense of a lobbyist.
He also is the kind of lawmaker that Common Cause of Georgia is taking close aim at in its latest campaign to persuade state lawmakers and policymakers to sign a pledge to limit the free stuff put in their bags to $100 a session. It should be zero.
It doesn’t matter that Balfour and others who cash in on thousands of dollars in freebies from those trying to curry favor among lawmakers claim the gifts have no swaying power on them.
The perception is that it does, and more often than not, it’s a perception that ultimately proves fairly accurate because it at least guarantees the donor or giver access.
That much is obvious from some of the legislation passed by the Legislature in recent years.
Sen. Balfour and others can do something about that.
They can agree now to cap themselves, even if they are unable to make it official by passing something in the General Assembly that might have a chance to take root in the lower House of Representatives.
Neither senators nor representatives need a law to tell them right from wrong. Even without a rule, they can use their own morals and ethics to guide them.
— June 4, The Brunswick News